{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

It’s surprising how much bad copywriting exists online, ranging from PPC ads through to content on websites. Ultimately, this can affect a company’s internet presence and damage any digital strategy they may be engaged in. But how do you create effective, eye-catching copy?

The importance of producing high-quality copy can never be underestimated in the online arena.

Studies have consistently found that web pages following best practice for online copywriting outperform those which don't by over 100%. Equally, research repeatedly shows us that well-written ad-copy increases the click-through-rate whilst often lowering the cost-per-click.

A poorly written advertisement is unlikely to get a good response rate. If a user arrives on a website, only to discover weak copy, they will leave. Badly worded emails will not be opened again, the next time they are sent. And shoddy copywriting can adversely affect your SEO strategy.

If you look carefully, you’ll see that even the biggest and best online presences occasionally trip up on bad copy. There is definitely no excuse for spelling mistakes, poor grammar or outdated offers and messages when it comes to having an online presence.

Well-written text is undeniably one of the most effective methods of grabbing a user’s attention; so how are pitfalls avoided and successful copy achieved?

Say what you mean, mean what you know
Before you begin writing, you need to understand what message you are trying to relate.

Are you selling a product or service? Perhaps you just want to let users know about your company? Is there a special offer you want people to know about? Directly knowing your aims and objectives is a must.

If you are promoting or selling, you need to fully know your merchandise. This will help you create effective copywriting more easily, as well as giving you the confidence to do so. If you are familiar with what you are writing about, this will genuinely be conveyed through any text to the reader.

It is recommended that agencies should spend time with time with their clients, getting to know their businesses better in order to achieve this.

Short and sweet
Regardless of what you’re writing, or where it’s going to be placed, the text needs to be clear and concise. Get straight to the point – don’t fall into the trap of using “flowery” language, as this will usually put readers off.

Think of how Google operates its paid-search copy. AdWords gives marketers only 95 characters to create an advertisement. How you use those characters is up to you – but the more impact and relevance the ad has, the more likely it will see a positive click-through-rate, leading to conversion.

This line of thought doesn’t just apply to paid search. For example, user-testing shows us that people navigating text-heavy websites, or receiving emails containing large bodies of writing, are unlikely to respond favorably.

A user needs to read and understand your copy within a matter of seconds.

Think about where you can cut unnecessary words out of your copy: one good word is far better than five or six bad ones! Whether it’s a description of a product or a call-to-action ad, a balance can be found between creating short, sharp text, whilst not compromising what you are trying to communicate.

Know your user, love your user
Be aware of who will be on the receiving end of your words; a huge mistake that copywriters often make is that they are writing for themselves, not the reader.

You have to clearly understand your target audience in order to produce good copy. Understanding your demographic will help you shape the tone and language within text.

Once you have clearly established your target audience, you have to create copy that will appeal to them.  This not only means using a language they recognise, but also giving them content they will relate to.

Think about your choice of vocabulary and whether it is appropriate for your audience.  If you can get inside the mind of your target audience, it becomes much easier to create appealing copy that is likely to be responded to positively.

Econsultancy’s online copywriting training can help you improve your understanding of generating copy this way.

Repeat, repeat, repeat
It may sound silly, but sometimes you need to repeat a message to leave an impression upon your readers. You don’t have to literally repeat text word-for-word, but instead continually return back to the original message you want to convey. This sits especially well in email marketing and web copy.

Be conscious of repeating the important points you want your user to understand, in order to leave an impression… but also be aware of over-doing things.

Again, there is a balance to be struck,  just be aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it.

Stand out from the crowd
With the need to get a message across quickly and clearly, this is of the utmost importance.

One of the best ways to stand a greater chance of leaving a lasting impression is to be creative and innovative with your words.

Be snappy, play on themes and ideas, use slogans and embrace your product knowledge in order to capture your readers.

Displaying good quality, original writing is far more likely to grab attention.

Additionally, how your text is displayed can have a positive impact, especially when used in web copy or email, but large, colorful, 2.0 text may have an impact on the usability of a website and could even affect your search engine optimisation.

Plan, test and rework
It can’t be said any clearer than this.

There is a clear need for a plan as to how and when you will create copy, where it will be placed and who it is for.

Once this has been realised, continuous testing is the key to ensure your copy is optimised to its full potential.

Copywriting crosses all boundaries in this way - testing can take the guise of web analytics, usability testing or ad-tracking.

If your text is experiencing a negative response, don’t be afraid to change it!

This especially holds true with paid search ads, where the aim is to usually drive a decent ROI. If an ad isn’t converting, it needs to be altered, in order to engage a user. Likewise, if users are arriving on a landing page, but then leaving quickly, should you consider changing the copy alongside the layout design?

Testing and changing copy on a regular basis can be essential in achieving your online aims.

Keep these few things in mind when writing for an online audience and you'll be able to quickly produce great copy that'll see positive results...

Jake Hird

Published 18 December, 2008 by Jake Hird

Jake Hird is Econsultancy Australia's Director of Research and Education. Follow him on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn or see what he's keeping an eye on via diigo

126 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

Bad writing has always been an issue, online and off.

But with online, we finally have a clear, instant method for defining what good copy IS:  it's what works.  And if it doesn't, you can change it straight away.

As a copywriter, I couldn't agree more about the power of good copy -- but I would say that wouldn't I...

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Anne Wood

I couldn't agree more. I introduced copywriters to The Carphone Warehouse when I joined a couple of years ago. They are well worth the investment as they can make a complicated subject seem simple. Countless times we've rewritten content because it's too difficult to understand, often reducing work from several pages to several paragraphs. Ask the originator what's missing and they'll agree - nothing. It's just concise and to the point with the unnecessary content removed.

over 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Bobby Hewitt

You make several excellent points in your post, copy writing much like design is very often undervalued, yet great design and writing is what elevates a company, product and or website to the level of great. I've recently written a post on my blog combining effective online copy with the layout of that copy using heat map studies. When powerful copy is combined with strong design your site and product gets elevated above your competition. Here's the post http://creativethirst.com/blog/?p=53

over 7 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.